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The use of bluetooth low energy Beacon systems to estimate indirect personal exposure to household air pollution

A Correction to this article was published on 27 February 2020


Household air pollution (HAP) generated from solid fuel combustion is a major health risk. Direct measurement of exposure to HAP is burdensome and challenging, particularly for children. In a pilot study of the Household Air Pollution Intervention Network (HAPIN) trial in rural Guatemala, we evaluated an indirect exposure assessment method that employs fixed continuous PM2.5 monitors, Bluetooth signal receivers in multiple microenvironments (kitchen, sleeping area and outdoor patio), and a wearable signal emitter to track an individual’s time within those microenvironments. Over a four-month period, we measured microenvironmental locations and reconstructed indirect PM2.5 exposures for women and children during two 24-h periods before and two periods after a liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) stove and fuel intervention delivered to 20 households cooking with woodstoves. Women wore personal PM2.5 monitors to compare direct with indirect exposure measurements. Indirect exposure measurements had high correlation with direct measurements (n = 62, Spearman ρ = 0.83, PM2.5 concentration range: 5–528 µg/m3). Indirect exposure had better agreement with direct exposure measurements (bias: −17 µg/m3) than did kitchen area measurements (bias: −89 µg/m3). Our findings demonstrate that indirect exposure reconstruction is a feasible approach to estimate personal exposure when direct assessment is not possible.

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This study was supported through the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute/National Institutes of Health [1UM1HL134590-01] and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation [OPP1131279]. A multidisciplinary, independent Data and Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB) appointed by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) monitors the quality of the data and protects the safety of patients enrolled in the HAPIN trial. NHLBI DSMB: Nancy R. Cook, Sc.D.; Stephen Hecht, Ph.D.; Catherine Karr, M.D., Ph.D.; Katie H. Kavounis, M.P.H.; Dong-Yun Kim, Ph.D.; Joseph Millum, Ph.D.; Lora A. Reineck, M.D., M.S.; Nalini Sathiakumar, M.D., Dr.P.H.; Paul K. Whelton, M.D.; Gail G. Weinmann, M.D. Program Coordination: Gail Rodgers, M.D., Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Claudia L. Thompson, Ph.D. National Institute of Environmental Health Science (NIEHS); Mark J. Parascandola, Ph.D., M.P.H., National Cancer Institute (NCI); Danuta M. Krotoski, Ph.D., Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD); Joshua P. Rosenthal, Ph.D. Fogarty International Center (FIC), Conception R. Nierras, Ph.D. NIH Office of Strategic Coordination Common Fund; Antonello Punturieri, M.D., Ph.D. and Barry S. Schmetter, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health or Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

HAPIN investigators:

Vigneswari Aravindalochanan10, Kalpana Balakrishnan10, Dana Boyd Barr1, Vanessa Burrowes11, Devan Campbell7, Julia McPeek Campbell1, Adly Castañaza2, Howard Chang12, Yunyun Chen12, Marilú Chiang13, Rachel Craik14, Mary Crocker15, Victor Davila-Roman16, Lisa de las Fuentes16, Ephrem Dusabimana17, Lisa Elon12, Juan Gabriel Espinoza13, Irma Sayury Pineda Fuentes2, Sarada Garg10, Dina Goodman11, Savannah Gupton1, Stella Hartinger18, Steven Harvey19, Mayari Hengstermann20, Phabiola Herrera21, Shakir Hossen11, Penelope Howards12, Lindsay Jaacks22, Shirin Jabbarzadeh12, Abigail Jones7, Miles Kirby1, Jacob Kremer7, Margaret Laws11, Amy Lovvorn1, Fiona Majorin23, Eric McCollum11, Rachel Meyers16, J. Jaime Miranda24, Lawrence Moulton25, Krishnendu Mukhopadhyay10, Abidan Nambajimana17, Florien Ndagijimana17, Azhar Nizam12, Jean de Dieu Ntivuguruzwa17, Aris Papageorghiou14, Naveen Puttaswamy10, Elisa Puzzolo26, Ashlinn Quinn27, Sarah Rajkumar5, Usha Ramakrishnan12, Davis Reardon7, Ghislaine Rosa23, Joshua Rosenthal27, P. Barry Ryan1, Zoe Sakas23, Sankar Sambandam10, Jeremy Sarnat1, Suzanne Simkovich11, Sheela Sinharoy1, Kirk R. Smith6, Damien Swearing1, Gurusamy Thangavel10, Ashley Toenjes16, Lindsay Underhill11, Jean Damascene Uwizeyimana17, Viviane Valdes12, Amit Verma12, Lance Waller12, Megan Warnock12, Kendra Williams11, Wenlu Ye1, Bonnie Young5

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Correspondence to Jiawen Liao.

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Liao, J., McCracken, J.P., Piedrahita, R. et al. The use of bluetooth low energy Beacon systems to estimate indirect personal exposure to household air pollution. J Expo Sci Environ Epidemiol 30, 990–1000 (2020).

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  • Household air pollution
  • Microenvironment
  • Fine particulate matters (PM2.5)
  • LPG Intervention
  • Indirect exposure

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